A woman sits on her patio, reclining in a chair. Her prescription glasses having transitioned in the sun in the last few days of summer, bright enough and warm enough to encourage the change in the glasses, but not so bright or so warm as to discourage the light jacket the woman is wearing. She opens up an app on her phone, and after a few taps on the screen the voices of Rick Rizzs and Dave Sims can be heard doing the pregame announcement for the Seattle Mariners game, and she sets the phone on the fogged glass table beside her. Beside the phone is a large, curved drinking glass with a bright yellow-orange blended cocktail inside, and pineapple chunks adorning the rim. Rizzs informs the listener that today’s opponent for the Mariners will be the Oakland Athletics.
A little more than one week later.
A sound as if a woodpecker wore a boxing glove on its beak can be heard, as a woman sits at a computer chair rapidly and anxiously thudding the heel of her foot against the carpet. The screen of the monitor glows brightly on her too close face, the lenses of her glasses slightly greased with fingerprints near the center, evidence of being repeatedly pushed up the nose, evidence itself of the poor posture of the glasses-pusher. From the computer speakers come the sounds of a baseball game, occasionally interrupted by the loud clicking and clacking of the woman typing furiously into a document, denoting the events of the game. The glass of water on the desk coaster remains forgotten, the ice long melted.
It is no offense to the Oakland Athletics the way they are being discussed in regards to the Mariners three games against them. Yes, it is entirely true that they are peskier than their abysmal record might imply, and that they are indeed technically a Major League roster, some of the best athletes in the world at their game. However the Mariners seek to be in an elite internal sphere within that same circle, to win their way into the playoffs and possibly a division win, and teams like the Athletics are mere hurdles compared to the walls they will have to climb in the coming days in Texas, and at home where Texas will follow them. For Seattle’s fans, it was a hurdle they needed to see the team easily clear, especially after a struggling September, to show that the Mariners still might have the juice to make an emphatic final push. Seattle did not disappoint in that department, handily winning in each game, and completing the series sweep with a game three win today with a score of 6-3.
Seattle’s strike slinging sophomore pitcher George Kirby has not had a season without some warts, but overall the young right hander has continued to impress, and he will be instrumental in the next week and a half of games. Today he was in usual form, getting ahead early in nearly every batter faced, throwing eighty-five pitches over seven innings and landing sixty-five of them for strikes. The warts did show up a little today, mostly negligibly, but he did allow all three of Oakland’s runs. The first run allowed was when Zack Gelof turned around a middle-middle breaker for a solo shot in the bottom of the fourth. Next, Kirby allowed a two out liner into left field from Seth Brown in the bottom of the sixth, which set the table for Brent Rooker to turn around an 0-2 fastball above the zone for a two run home run that Julio nearly caught, but didn’t.
George Kirby only allowed a scattering of baserunners aside from that over his seven innings of work, eight hits total and of course no walks, and struck out three. The quality start deep into the game is very welcome addition to the off day tomorrow, allowing the bullpen to be as rested as possible.
The hurdle Seattle’s offense had to overcome today was that of debuting pitcher Joey Estes, a fitting sacrifice in a building named the Coliseum to give to the Mariners as they stalk lion-like towards the playoffs. The Mariners reached base every inning against Estes except the fourth, and first plated runs in the second inning. Ty France first reached on an error when Oakland third baseman Jordan Díaz forgot he was playing baseball and invented some kind of new baseball hackey sack played with your hands. Then Dominic Canzone sent the baseball to the Dominic Ozone of the atmosphere, giving the Mariners an early 2-0 lead.
The rest of Seattle’s runs came in the fifth inning, when they ultimately chased Estes from the game. Julio Rodríguez started the inning with a blast to straightaway center. As Goldy said on the highlight, that was Julio’s 100th run batted in for the season, making him only the third player in baseball history under 22 years old to have 100 RBIs and 30 home runs and 30 steals in a season. If for some reason it isn’t obvious, that is very, very good.
Cal Raleigh was next up to bat, and I regret to inform you he did not hit his 100th RBI of the season. I am pleased to inform you that he did hit his 29th home run of the season, and if he hits 30 before the season is over he will be the only Mariners catcher to reach that number in franchise history.
Later in the same inning Eugenio Suárez reached with a ground rule double, and Ty France joined him on the basepaths when the laws of physics proved eternally true and he was hit with a baseball on the elbow, because that’s just how Ty France, gravity, and baseballs work. Dominic Canzone took advantage of this opportunity, and hit one not to the Dominic Ozone this time but bouncing up off the wall in left-center for a double, scoring both runners and giving the Mariners their final score of six runs.
Andrés Muñoz and Justin Topa handily handled the eighth and ninth innings, respectively, and aside from Topa allowing a two out walk to Tyler Soderstrom, the basepaths remained clear. At no point in today’s game, or in the entire three game series for that matter, were the Seattle Mariners behind. Today was one of the last days of summer, and combined with their off day tomorrow, likely the last day of the season the Mariners will be afforded easily hurdled obstacles. They handled their task with a win, but the real challenge of the season still awaits.
The woman on the patio sips her cocktail, not her first and nearly empty again, as she taps the screen of her phone and the ongoing postgame summary on the radio feed to the baseball game cuts out. The Seattle Mariners easily won over the Oakland Athletics, as was expected, and the woman lingered in the silence remembering some of the better moments of the game. Summer days like this would be gone soon, harder games would need to be played by the Mariners, and the freedom and time to enjoy a day and a game like this wouldn’t always come easy for the woman. Still, the smile lingered in the peaceful silence of the moment. Those were problems for tomorrow.